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Crim Full Text - Midterm

Crim Full Text - Midterm

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Published by: iamyni on Aug 10, 2010
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Crim Law Rev Midterm (INCOMPLETE)
PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, appellee, vs. JOSE OBESO, appellant.2003 Oct243rd DivisionG.R. No. 152285D E C I S I O N
PANGANIBAN, J.: The prosecution bears the burden of proving beyond reasonable doubt the guilt of theaccused. Every conviction must rest on the strength of the people’s evidence, neveron the weakness of that for the defense. The CaseBefore us is an appeal from the June 19, 2001 Decision[1] of the Regional Trial Court(RTC) of Cebu City (Branch 18) in Criminal Case No. CBU-49812, convicting JoseObeso of kidnapping and serious illegal detention. The decretal portion of theDecision reads as follows:“WHEREFORE, in view of the foregoing facts and circumstances, accused Jose Obesois found guilty beyond reasonable doubt of the crime of kidnapping and serious illegaldetention under Article 267 of the Revised Penal Code and he is hereby imposed thepenalty of RECLUSION PERPETUA, with the accessory penalties of the law; toindemnify the victim with damages in the sum of P50,000.00 and to pay thecosts.”[2]In an Information[3] dated February 23, 1999, appellant was charged as follows:“That on or about the 9th day of December 1998 at around 3:00 o’clock in theafternoon, more or less, at Sitio Ilang-Ilang, Barangay Lagtang, Municipality of Talisay,Province of Cebu, Philippines and within the jurisdiction of this Honorable Court, theabove-named accused, a private individual, without lawful authority and for thepurpose of detaining the victim, or depriving her liberty, a minor, three (3) years oldat the time of the commission of the offense and female, without the consent of thevictim or her parent or guardian did then and there willfully, unlawfully andfeloniously kidnap, detain, or deprive the liberty of one Lilibeth Cabriana, the victim,to the damage and prejudice of the latter.”[4]During his arraignment on April 12, 1999, appellant, assisted by his counsel,[5]pleaded not guilty after the Information had been read and translated to him in alanguage that he fully understood.[6] After pretrial and trial, the lower courtpromulgated its assailed Decision. The Public Attorney’s Office then filed a Notice of Appeal on August 7, 2001.[7] The FactsVersion of the ProsecutionIn its Brief,[8] the Office of the Solicitor General (OSG) narrates the factualantecedents of the case as follows:“Around four (4) o’clock in the afternoon of December 9, 1998, Elizabeth Cabriana, anunwed mother, together with her three (3) year old daughter Lilibeth Cabriana, wentto the Talisay Public Market located at Tabuno[k], Talisay, Cebu, to do some carolingto augment their day to day expenses. As it would be too burdensome for Elizabethto bring Lilibeth along with her, she (Elizabeth) took her child to the store of Lucy
Nacasio. Thereupon, Elizabeth instructed Lucy’s daughter, Wowie, to look after herchild after which, Elizabeth left.“After finishing her caroling around five (5) o’clock in the afternoon of the same day,Elizabeth proceeded to Lucy’s place to fetch Lilibeth. To her surprise, Elizabeth wasinformed by both Lucy and Wowie that a certain Jose Obeso took her child.“Frantic, Elizabeth proceeded to the reservoir located at Ilang-Ilang, Lagtang, Talisay,Cebu, to seek the assistance of Gemelito Abendan, a ‘barangay tanod,’ in retrievingher child.“Upon her arrival, Elizabeth requested Gemelito to look for Lilibeth. A short whilethereafter, one of Gemelito’s neighbors informed the latter that accused-appellantwas last seen headed towards the back portion of Gemelito’s house. Acting on theinformation, Gemelito followed the route supposedly taken by appellant.“A few moments thereafter, Gemelito chanced upon the appellant and Lilibeth. PerGemelito’s recollection, Lilibeth was [seated] on the lap of the appellant.Immediately, Gemelito took possession of the child and inquired from the appellantwhy the latter brought the child there. In response, appellant answered that Lilibethwanted to go ‘up there’ pointing to the hilly portion beyond the road. At this point,Gemelito noticed that appellant was drunk. Having gained custody of the child,Gemelito took the lat[t]er to her mother. Thereafter, Gemelito brought the appellantto the police station at Tabunok, Talisay, Cebu.“Lilibeth Cabriana, the victim in this case, testified that she knows the appellant as infact, she pointed to the appellant when instructed to do so. When asked why sheknew the appellant, Lilibeth pressed her left hand on her private part. Subsequently,the court asked Lilibeth what had the appellant done to her. Again, in response to thequestion propounded by the court, Lilibeth placed her left hand on her front. Whenasked by the court what Lilibeth meant by placing her left hand near her private part,Lilibeth uttered the word ‘Jose.’“Lilibeth likewise admitted having been carried by the appellant towards the latter’shouse. At this juncture, the court asked Lilibeth what appellant did to her when shewas brought to appellant’s house, to which Lilibeth answered by pressing her handagainst her private part. Lilibeth likewise testified that she was crying when theappellant brought her to his house.“When called to the witness stand, appellant presented an entirely different versionof the incident. According to him, on December 9, 1998, he was in the vicinity of the Tabunok Public Market when he saw the victim, Lilibeth Cabriana. Allegedly, the childwas looking for her mother. Appellant knew Lilibeth because he frequently saw thatlatter with Elizabeth in the public market.“Basically, appellant averred that he merely guided the child towards the side of theroad to avoid being hit by the oncoming vehicles. Not too long thereafter, a barangaytanod apprehended him. Appellant was informed that Lilibeth’s mother was lookingfor her.”[9]Version of the DefenseOn the other hand, appellant relates his version of the facts thus:“JOSE OBESO averred that on December 9, 1998 at around 4:00 o’clock in the
afternoon, after buying rice and viand, and while he was walking towards his housepassing through the highway, he saw a child at the Tabunok Public Market whom heknew by the name of Lilibeth Cabriana. He happened to know the child because sheused to go with her mother [to] the public market where her mother sold vegetables.At the time he saw the child, the latter was crying and was looking for her mother. Thinking of the safety of the child, he guided her and placed her beside him so thatshe would not be hit by the passing vehicles. After guiding and placing her in a safeplace outside the Tabunok Public Market, he was apprehended by a barangay tanodat around 5:00 o’clock in the afternoon. He was in the company of the child for aboutten (10) minutes. He did not take the child to any other place. He was with the childas she was crying. He held the child by the hand when he guided her towards theside of the road because there were many passing vehicles. He had no other purposeother than that.“After the barangay tanod apprehended him, he was detained and a complaint forkidnapping was filed against him. Asked if he knows what is meant by kidnapping, hereplied that he knows that kidnapping is to bring a person somewhere in order to bepaid for her release.“Upon further examination by the defense counsel, he declared that he accompaniedthe child Lilibeth Cabriana [to] Ilang-Ilang, Lagtang, Talisay, while she was waiting forher mother. It was about five (5) minutes that he was with the child when a barangaytanod arrived and arrested him. The barangay tanod told him that the mother of thechild was looking for her. He turned over the child to her mother. Prior to his arrest,he already intended to bring the child to the barangay hall.”[10]Ruling of the Trial Court The RTC ruled that the prosecution had established beyond reasonable doubt all theelements of the crime of kidnapping and serious illegal detention. The lower courtconstrued deprivation of liberty as actual confinement or restriction of the person of the offended party. The RTC perfunctorily rejected the defense of denial, holding that“greater weight must be given to positive testimony than to the denial of thedefendant.”Hence, this appeal. [11] The IssuesIn his Brief, appellant submits this lone error for our consideration:“The court a quo gravely erred in finding accused-appellant guilty beyond reasonabledoubt of kidnapping and serious illegal detention.”[12] The Court’s Ruling The appeal is meritorious.Sole Issue:Guilt Beyond Reasonable DoubtAppellant anchors his defense on the alleged failure of the prosecution to overcomehis right to be presumed innocent. In particular, he questions the finding of the courta quo that he “illegally kidnapped, detained or in any manner deprived the alleged

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